Research Seminar Series: Auritro Majumder, “Reportage and Internationalism”
This talk considers reportage as an interface between grassroots social movements and contemporary world literature. During the twentieth century, reportage had a distinguished record of documenting as well as forging anti-colonial solidarity across the world. Within that tradition I situate Arundhati Roy’s “Walking with the Comrades” (2011), a long form essay on the Maoist movement and Gond adivasi militancy in Chhattisgarh, central India. I discuss how Roy’s reportage is informed by older but persistent ideas of communist internationalism, and simultaneously deploys literary narrative to frame issues of subaltern self-representation.
Auritro Majumder is Assistant Professor of English at University of Houston, with an appointment in India Studies. The talk derives from his book, Insurgent Imaginations: World Literature and the Periphery, forthcoming next year from Cambridge University Press. Connecting India to Mexico, the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Cuba, China, and the United States, the book advances that peripheral internationalism provides a new perspective on world literature. Unlike the latter’s emphasis on a post-national globalization, the former highlights the activity of marginalized groups across national boundaries. Some of Majumder’s earlier work appears in Critical Asian Studies, Comparative Literature Studies, Interventions, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Mediations, Research in African Literatures, and South Asian Review. He currently serves on the South Asia forum executive committee at the Modern Language Association.